It’s happened to us all, probably more than once. You come across an item you love, an adorable vintage dress or a beautiful armoire that would fit perfectly in your home. But then you get a closer sniff and realize there are lingering smells from the previous owner still attached to the item. Many people would sadly leave the item at the thrift store, but not you because after reading this article you will know how to get almost any smell out of items you come across.
One of the first things you can do is to air the item out. This is especially true for furniture. Allow it to sit outside for a couple of days. This should help dissipate any unwanted smells.
Since your item is going to be outside make sure it is in the sun if it’s a sunny day. Because sunlight has UV rays, it kills off the scent causing bacteria and removes all scents and odors. After sitting in the sun for a few hours to days your clothes or furniture should smell pretty neutral.
Of course, this is going to be on the list! If you have a white item you can also use a little hydrogen peroxide or bleach in your wash to help rid of foul odors. Otherwise, add a little bit of ammonia or borax to the mix. If your item is furniture you may have to hand wash it a couple of times. If your item can not be washed try dry cleaning
Known for is scent blasting properties white vinegar is a great substance to add to your laundry when washing your item. You can also spray it on the item several times over a couple of days. Acetic acid binds with volatile molecules and gets rid of unwanted odors fast, and don’t worry the smell won’t linger around, it will go away in a couple of hours. I even spray white vinegar mixed with essential oils around my home regularly to banish any nasty smells.
Specifically, ethanol that you can get at the grocery store is a great way to get rid of scents as well. Although if you have something made of leather or suede you may want to skip this one. Alcohol works great because for the most part, it doesn’t ruin fabrics, the smell dissipates quickly and it’s great at killing bacteria that cause bad smells.
Known for its odor-absorbing properties baking soda is a great first defense against powerful nose hair-killing smells! It doesn’t matter if it’s cigarette smoke, must, or mothballs, but baking soda will definitely help to reduce the smell.
If what you thrifted were clothes, I recommend placing the items in a bag and dousing them with baking soda. Shake it up well and let it sit for several days if you can give it a week before taking it out and washing it. You may have to repeat this process several times.
If you thrifted furniture the same thing applies, just douse the item with baking soda. It’s best to do this outside or in a garage so baking soda doesn’t get all over the floor
Add 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of white vinegar to your rinse cycle when washing the clothes
Because many of the odors in clothes are caused by bacteria most methods will be geared at getting rid of them and steam does a great job at this.
8. Over the counter
Some odors require something more than what you may have laying around the house. If nothing else works many people have had a lot of success with one of these
- Odo ban, people have had great success with this product
- An enzyme based stain remover like Simple Green or Puracy Natural Stain Remover, these are especially for urine, since they actually work at dissolving the scents instead of just absorbing them
- Charcoal Packs, these are great to place inside of things like dressers or armoires and let them sit. The best thing is that you can usually just take them out and place them in the sun to reuse
- Fresh Wave Odor Removing Gel, I just ordered some of this for my home since it got rave reviews. This would also be great to place inside of a piece of furniture and close it up so that it can absorb any odors
Some things to keep in mind
- When using liquids like alcohol and vinegar test out an inconspicuous area on your item first as they may leave a stain
- Keep in mind you may have to repeat the process several times
- Many times you can use a combination of them all of things to get rid of funky smells
What tips would add for getting smells out of your thrift finds?